As we’ve mentioned before, everything Google does is subject to intense scrutiny, since a website’s search rankings are so important for attracting visitors. Every new change or feature is given a great deal of examination and thought. The upside of this is that we usually have a good idea of how to keep up with the changes and take advantage of anything Google throws at us.
The latest Google feature that has people interested is called Carousel, which is a graphically appealing way to display local search results. When you search for local businesses, such as “restaurants in Naperville, IL”, you might see a black band across the top of the search results page that displays a scrolling selection of results, along with easy-to-understand information like images, star ratings (based on Google+ reviews), categories, and price rankings as indicated by a series of dollar signs ($$, $$$, etc.).
Right now, Google is still rolling out this functionality, so it is currently only available for certain types of local searches, including hospitality (restaurants, hotels, etc.) and recreation (movie theaters, art galleries, etc.), and it is only available in the United States and parts of Canada. However, they have plans to expand its reach and begin covering other types of local businesses in the near future.
What should I do to keep up?
This type of search result is a great way for a local business to get noticed, so you’ll want to try to do everything you can to be included. To do so, you’ll want to make sure your business’s Google+ profile has been filled out, and that it includes high-quality images that can be used in the Carousel results. You’ll also need to have some highly-rated customer reviews on Google+, so you should encourage loyal customers to leave you favorable reviews (unfortunately, only Google+ ratings will affect your Carousel results, and any rankings on sites like Yelp are not included). And like always, you’ll want to practice good search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to make sure you are ranking as highly as possible in Google’s search algorithms.
As the top portal that people use to find content on the web, Google is continually coming up with new ways to deliver the best search results they can, and Carousel is just one of their ongoing initiatives. It should be exciting to watch how this affects the way people find local businesses as the functionality continues to roll out, and if you want to be included, now is the time to take action to do so. Do you have any other questions about how Carousel works or what else you can do to improve your search results? Please leave a comment below!